Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said that Japan’s defense of its whaling practices in the trial at the International Court of Justice has led them to make “untrue and offensive” statements in order to justify their actions. He says that some of the allegations they made were not even relevant to the case.
He was referring to Japan’s counsel Payam Akhavan, who claimed that this case brought by Canberra against Tokyo is just part of their “emotional anti-whaling moral campaign”. He accused them of tolerating the often violent extremism of radical environmentalists Sea Shepherd, as well as politicizing science and even the International Whaling Commission.
Dreyfus said these accusations were offensive to Australia, and even devoid of any legal argument. He said that the way Japan chose to defend themselves in this hearing “speaks volumes for the weakness of the Japanese case.” He also categorically denied Japan’s suggestion that Canberra is actually outsourcing their Arctic maritime enforcement to Sea Shepherd. In fact, they have called for all vessels, including Japan and Sea Shepherd, to comply with international law in whatever actions they conduct in the Southern Ocean.
“This case in not about civilizing missions or whether the Australian government or Australian public like or dislike the consumption of whale meat,” Mr Dreyfus said. He emphasized that this was about making a country pay for failing to comply with international legal obligations against commercial whaling. Another lawyer, Alain Pellet described anti-whaling countries as “puppets of Australia”. But Dreyfus argued that Pellet has used the tactic “that the best form of defence is offence.”
The three-week hearing will conclude next week and Australia is expecting a decision by the ICJ by the end of the year in time to halt the start of Japan’s next whaling season.
[via Herald Sun]